I have been focused a lot on how to improve productivity lately. The thing is, when you start looking at things from a particular perspective, you begin to notice stuff you never saw before. This post is about that.
You see, this week I attended 3 unrelated meetings and it got me thinking about how some inefficiencies are so deeply engrained in our culture.
My first meeting was with doctors and researchers and they were presenting a medical informatics research project.
Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that the purpose of the project is to build a very large database of information related to specific chronic illnesses that will aid health practitioners recognize patterns, make quicker diagnoses and ultimately help patients get better faster.
The next meeting I had was with lawyers. They showed us a tool that basically removes most of the clerical work associated with preparing calls for tender.
The difficulty with this is that there are hundreds of clauses that can be used in calls for tenders and contracts, and you also have to ensure that in order to avoid potential conflicts and legal risks, you understand not only the commercial ramifications of each but also the interactions among them.
This program also incorporates all the jurisprudence research in the form of contextual clickable reference links. That way the user doesn’t have to spend time searching or money for additional legal articling.
Now here’s the thing. Both of these solutions seem so obvious don’t they? and they are definitely a step in the right direction how to improve productivity. But, it kind of makes you wonder why these types of tools aren’t more common.
The technological part of the answer is rather obvious. Advances in memory, processing speed and bandwidth are now permitting such tools to exist. But what I find more interesting is the other part of the answer.
Last night on my coaching call, I explained that running an online business is like a jigsaw puzzle.
You have a whole bunch of pieces you need to put together. Once they are there (and not before) you start making money.
To ramp up your business you can then build the same puzzle over and over (think duplication or franchise models) or you can build other puzzles (alternate revenue streams).
Eventually with practice, you become proficient at puzzle building. And you begin to think you are doing pretty well when it comes to how to improve productivity. But….
This is very much like doctors and lawyers; they learn their craft and eventually become very proficient at it.
The problem is that they are making themselves a vital resource in the process – because of their expertise.
They actually become the limiting resource (or bottleneck) to how to improve productivity.
This is what we are taught. This is how our society is designed.
We sabotage ourselves and limit our real productivity potential because of our values and attitudes.
“Learn something, become an expert, become indespensable, ensure job security, be recognized for your expertise and make lots of money and/or a large contribution to the betterment of society“.
But what if part of that was “make sure I am not a limiting resource“?
What if we were taught that the true path to success was not to become an expert and the go-to person but rather to make sure that what we know becomes common knowledge – like all the information required to build a health informatics system or all the jurisprudence required to populate a legal database and make informed choices.
Don’t you think that would be a bigger and more valuable contribution?
Don’t you think that would have a greater long-term impact?
But we are not conditioned to think like that.
We are not trained to document what we learn and what we do – as we learn it and do it!
We are not programmed to remove ourselves from the equation.
But what if we were?
What if you systematically developed trainings and procedures to build your puzzles as you went along?
How much quicker do you think duplication would occur?
How much faster would you be able to ramp up your business?
How much sooner do you think you could transition from expert to business builder?
It is not a simple transition to develop this mindset shift and I won’t get into the different techniques to do it here, but just being aware of it is often enough to make some important adjustments.
Try this exercise:
Throughout your day, just ask yourself “if I want to do this again next week, will I remember how?” And then “if I ask somebody to do this for me, will they be able to?“.
These 2 simple questions will help you realize how we naturally horde knowledge and prevent ourselves from learning how to improve productivity.
Try it out and let me know what you discover.
Also, make sure you click on this link to get a hold of my free-mini class while it’s still available where you’ll find more great tips on how to improve productivity.